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Students Protesting On-Campus Conditions

Started by apl68, February 05, 2024, 01:39:49 PM

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apl68

Now and then we hear about students protesting as a  form of political or social activism.  Sometimes, though, they register protest because they think they're simply getting a bad deal at their school.

Recent case in our state--students protesting conditions in the dorms:

QuotePINE BLUFF, Ark. — Several students at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff campus joined together on Thursday afternoon to voice concerns about their living conditions.

"The inside of the buildings have mold, we have rats, and we got rodents," said sophmore student Cederic Scott.

Scott explained how the conditions were not what he pictured in his head when he decided to make the decision to attend UAPB.

"To live like this is unnecessary because I come from a small town. I grew up in poverty and coming here I'm thinking I would have a better life, and get a better room but no, it's nearly the same thing," he described.

Scott is not the only one who has been on the front lines of this issue. Senior Kai Baker explained that this has been an ongoing problem for the last four years she has attended UAPB.

"I just happened to look at my window sill completely filled with mold again, and I had been sleeping. My bed is literally right next to the window sill," Baker added.

She said that being exposed to the mold caused her health to spiral downward.

"I had severe skin issues like rashes on my face, on my arms, or my hands [and] around my other parts of my body and my neck. I'm severely coughing, and getting choked out of my sleep. It was so bad that I started throwing up and having severe headaches," Baker said.


More at https://www.thv11.com/article/news/local/uapb-students-voice-concerns-student-living-conditions/91-8cecb456-0dff-487b-ac98-75038ef5f546


Does anybody else here have any examples of students protesting on their own behalf like this, either recently on in the past?  How often does this sort of thing happen? 
If any will come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me.
Whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever will lose his life for my sake will find it.
For how does a man profit if he gains the whole world, but loses his soul?

onehappyunicorn

I am at a non-residential school so we don't really have anything comparable.
There is an HBCU in state here that recently had issues with hot water being out and mold in dorms. In this case students complained and when the issue was not addressed quickly enough they went to the media:
Livingstone College hot water and mold problems
The main problem a place like Livingstone has is crumbling infrastructure, one of the dorms there is a hundred years old. The vast majority of students who go there receive financial aid from the school, I think most of their endowment goes to scholarships and grants.
Building maintenance has been put on the back burner for some time is what I have been told. Last I heard they raised something like 6 or 7 million dollars to renovate some of the buildings, I don't know how far that will go. They are a pretty small school, under 1,000 students, I imagine they are going to continue to struggle to keep up with all of the maintenance...

Parasaurolophus

A somewhat different case, but IIRC didn't students at UCSB protest their windowless dorm?
I know it's a genus.

Wahoo Redux

So often we just can't pay for what we want college to be. 
Come, fill the Cup, and in the fire of Spring
Your Winter-garment of Repentance fling:
The Bird of Time has but a little way
To flutter--and the Bird is on the Wing.

mythbuster

I also remember a number of HBCU football teams refusing to play because of lack of equipment and otherwise unsafe conditions.

apl68

UAPB happens to be an HCBU.  HCBUs are often historically underfunded, though I suspect that problems like this aren't peculiar to HCBUs.  Seems like I recall polly's Super Dinky, which I don't think was an HCBU, having facilities issues.

More on UAPB's situation:


https://www.pbcommercial.com/news/2024/feb/04/uapb-officials-respond-to-dormitory-complaints/


Briefly, they say they're planning to use COVID funds to remedy the HVAC issues that have caused the mold problems.  Which makes sense--we used a bit of COVID funding channeled through our state library a couple of years ago to put in a UV unit that is supposed to prevent recurrence of mold in our system.

UAPB's administration also boasted that they've succeeded in fixing a fine arts center that in 2021 experienced first a flood and then a fire.  The latter is believed to have been arson, though they've never figured out who might have done it.  I guess with former local "mad bomber" Bill Magness now deceased, they had no other suspects.
If any will come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me.
Whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever will lose his life for my sake will find it.
For how does a man profit if he gains the whole world, but loses his soul?

aside

From the article linked above:

QuoteBennett said UAPB isn't holding up any progress on its residential and academic buildings, adding construction can be time-consuming.

"Students don't quite understand that when you have insurance involved in it, you have legal issues to make sure things happen. You can't just say, 'OK, we need to go in and do that.' The insurance company has to be in agreement."

One would hope serious health concerns like mold and rodents could be addressed through stop gap remediation efforts in the short term without waiting for the insurance company.

apl68

Quote from: aside on February 06, 2024, 10:56:10 AMFrom the article linked above:

QuoteBennett said UAPB isn't holding up any progress on its residential and academic buildings, adding construction can be time-consuming.

"Students don't quite understand that when you have insurance involved in it, you have legal issues to make sure things happen. You can't just say, 'OK, we need to go in and do that.' The insurance company has to be in agreement."

One would hope serious health concerns like mold and rodents could be addressed through stop gap remediation efforts in the short term without waiting for the insurance company.

Yes, that falls under "acute issues that must be taken care of right away."  At the very least call an exterminator and have the moldy areas spot-cleaned.
If any will come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me.
Whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever will lose his life for my sake will find it.
For how does a man profit if he gains the whole world, but loses his soul?

dismalist

#8
If a building is unfit for human occupation, it must be condemned, and then closed down. This apparently has not happened. That could be because the buildings are in fact fit for human habitation, or the local agency responsible for determining such is asleep at the wheel.

A credible threat of condemnation should be sufficient to get everybody's asses into gear. :-)
That's not even wrong!
--Wolfgang Pauli

Hegemony

My offspring is at a SLAC. The college is ostensibly not struggling, but reading between the lines, I can see that they are having to be frugal on multiple fronts. The newer dorms (where offspring is now) are in pretty good shape, but the older dorms (where offspring was last year) are seriously in need of maintenance. There was a gaping hole in the ceiling of one of the common rooms that never got fixed for the whole year, and there were leaks and problems with the bathrooms that remained unaddressed. Fellow parents were saying "I can't believe I'm paying $$$$$$ per year and they can't even keep up with stuff like this." And I was thinking, "It's bad news for the college when parents pay $$$$$$ and they need it for more urgent stuff." They are also seriously understaffed, and the people in the various administrative offices keep leaving, which suggests they're paying very low salaries.

The students do protest, but they are also protesting about forty other different things (restricted vegan options in the dining hall, suspension procedures, non-native plants in the landscaping, nationwide police behavior, climate change, state of the world generally), so I don't see that it gets much traction.

spork

Quote from: Hegemony on February 06, 2024, 02:59:52 PMMy offspring is at a SLAC. The college is ostensibly not struggling

[. . . ]

 They are also seriously understaffed, and the people in the various administrative offices keep leaving, which suggests they're paying very low salaries.

The students do protest, but they are also protesting about forty other different things (restricted vegan options in the dining hall, suspension procedures, non-native plants in the landscaping, nationwide police behavior, climate change, state of the world generally), so I don't see that it gets much traction.

Will your child be able to graduate before the college goes belly-up?
It's terrible writing, used to obfuscate the fact that the authors actually have nothing to say.

kaysixteen

Hmmmm.... this is a state school, so going belly up is not the outcome forseeable.  It is of course also additional evidence of the, ahem, disparate racial histories of institutions in the southlands.

Hegemony

Quote from: spork on February 06, 2024, 08:50:50 PMWill your child be able to graduate before the college goes belly-up?

I don't think the college is in a death spiral. I do wonder why they keep changing presidents so often. But then my own solidly-funded state university changes presidents as often as some people change their hairstyle, so maybe I shouldn't question it.

lightning

Quote from: Hegemony on February 06, 2024, 02:59:52 PMMy offspring is at a SLAC. The college is ostensibly not struggling, but reading between the lines, I can see that they are having to be frugal on multiple fronts. The newer dorms (where offspring is now) are in pretty good shape, but the older dorms (where offspring was last year) are seriously in need of maintenance. There was a gaping hole in the ceiling of one of the common rooms that never got fixed for the whole year, and there were leaks and problems with the bathrooms that remained unaddressed. Fellow parents were saying "I can't believe I'm paying $$$$$$ per year and they can't even keep up with stuff like this." And I was thinking, "It's bad news for the college when parents pay $$$$$$ and they need it for more urgent stuff." They are also seriously understaffed, and the people in the various administrative offices keep leaving, which suggests they're paying very low salaries.

The students do protest, but they are also protesting about forty other different things (restricted vegan options in the dining hall, suspension procedures, non-native plants in the landscaping, nationwide police behavior, climate change, state of the world generally), so I don't see that it gets much traction.

Lightning Jr. was seriously considering a sLAC. Although everything about the campus appeared idyllic, both in pictures and on-campus (the landscaping was amazing), I could LITERALLY sniff out the ongoing issues with water damage & deferred maintenance inside some of the buildings.

Campus visits are important, folks. Tour the insides of buildings and sniff.

apl68

Quote from: kaysixteen on February 07, 2024, 12:43:42 AMHmmmm.... this is a state school, so going belly up is not the outcome forseeable.  It is of course also additional evidence of the, ahem, disparate racial histories of institutions in the southlands.

The White House agrees:


QuoteLITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP/KARK) — Historically Black land-grant universities in Arkansas and 15 other states have missed out on $12.6 billion in funding over the last three decades, according to the Biden administration.

Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona and Secretary of Agriculture Thomas Vilsack sent letters to the governors of each state asking them to increase funding, news outlets reported.

The letter to Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders claimed the disparity in Arkansas represented $330.9 million being underfunded over the last 30 years for the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.

"These funds could have supported infrastructure and student services and would have better positioned the university to compete for research grants," the letter stated. "University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff has been able to make remarkable strides and would be much stronger and better positioned to serve its students, your state, and the nation if made whole with respect to this funding gap."


https://www.kark.com/news/education/university-of-arkansas-at-pine-bluff-among-nationally-underfunded-historically-black-land-grant-universities-biden-administration-says-in-letter-to-governor/
If any will come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me.
Whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever will lose his life for my sake will find it.
For how does a man profit if he gains the whole world, but loses his soul?